What fruit or berry is most critter proof without protection?
Citrus is untouched here in Cincinnati.
Elderberries get hit hard by birds… i grow some just for the birds. Deer love love to browse every leaf of them.
Blackberries- nothing except SWD wants the big fat berries… but Deer will browse all the foliage and tips.
Pawpaws- seem to be deer proof.
Dragonfruit is critterproof i think… it has spines on the leaves and fruit.
Sea Buckthorn is human and critter proof.
If you dont have goumi… you might try them.
I have red gem and sweet scarlet… and birds love them and eat plenty… but there are still plenty for us too.
We could not eat them all… and neither did the birds.
That is ideal to me… we get all we want… and they do too… and there is simply plenty for all.
My thorned blackberries and raspberries… no real critter pressure (swd excluded).
Jujube… persimmon… keifer pears.
Low pest issues.
Note a small asian persimmon probably not so true… but a large american loaded with fruit… would be somewhat like goumi… plenty to share.
black currants, elder, aronia and purple grapes arent touched but no deer here.
Nothing touches my pawpaws. Deer don’t eat them or the leaves. No birds, no bugs and no fungus. Once you get them established they grow themselves.
Everything eats paw paws. Raccoon, squirrels, groundhogs, possums, I have never seen fruit get to more than 2/3 size mid summer and they are picked or chewed on the tree.
The only problem I have with my concord grapes is the birds love them… but if i simply apply oganza bags to the clusters… i get to eat much more than the birds get. Mine have never been sprayed. I prune them for morning sun on the clusters once they develop. They produce a nice regular crop of sweet tart fruit.
You might also consider muscadines…
This question puts the cart in front of the horse because it depends on where you are and thus what kind of pressures you face. Here in Alaska no insect seem to target apple nor cherries so i could say both of those.
The deer chew all the bark off my Nelson blackberries over winter, in spite of wicked thorns. Without fencing I don’t get a berry. Bugs, squirrels, and birds don’t bother my Kolomikta kiwis, but deer will chaw off any sprig of vine or foliage they can get their snouts on. I don’t think a deer proof fruit exists in Wisconsin.
Do deer eat loquat leaves? Texture seems like it might not be appealing.
I’d like to move a few seedlings from under cover to out in the open …
@northwoodswis4 … down here our deer are not as desperate for food as yours evidently are during the winter months.
It is rare for us to get a snow… most winters we might get 2 3 4… and most of the time they come and go in just a few days… then we are back up in the 50-60 range.
If you get deep snows that cover the ground for weeks or months… i can see that the deer would have to eat anything they could above ground… including thorned blackberries.
I have had deer nibble on a leaf or two… in the spring… but never any serious damage to thorned BB or RB.
They do often give my strawberry plants a haircut as winter is coming on but have never bothered them while fruiting.
Having a pretty constant wild or ag. source of food handy all winter…(not covered deep in snow) will make your deer less bothersome.
Ours browse green grass on the hwy roadsides… as winter gets long and acorn supply dwindles.
You probably have no green grass thru your winters… or it is covered deep in snow.
You are definitely right that how bothersom a critter is could sure vary a lot by location.
why there’s barely any deer up here. they have to not only survive on last summers growth of twigs to eat but avoid predators in deep snow when the predators often can run on top when there’s a crust. our record cold/ record snow winter of 08’-09’ killed off over 1/3 of northern Maines deer population and it has been struggling to recover ever since, while s. Maines population is doing very well.
In places where deer are considered “Bamby” they are allowed to overpopulate, wrecking havoc on their environment. When they start eating bark and thorny twigs it means that they have lawnmowed the entire forest floor, destroying the habitat for most things that live there, which is the habitat of the food source for birds of prey. By the time you see them munching on your thorny blackberries they are desperate, with a bunch of other forest floor dwellers dead.
The solution is to lower the population but of course we don’t do that to “Bamby”, it is better if they starve in peace. There are several parks like the antietam national battlefield where they seem to wait for disease to spread (a common side effect of a large malnourished population) to use it as a reason to cull them hard; at this juncture people seem to rationalize this as a necessary step and don’t push back that much.
Evergreen huckleberries are pretty pest resistant. They hang on the bushes for months here and birds don’t seem to eat them
Yes to Aronia. Birds won’t even eat them, though we did have deer gorge themselved on them once.
Squirrels or raccons will eat pawpaws on the ground, but we’ve never had anything bother them on the tree.
Not sure if you meant insects or mammsls and birds, but if its insects blueberries and strawberries are insect free.
Apples are the worst – insects galore, birds, deer, raccoons, rabbits, voles.
Aronia is a family favorite for one particular use, cheesecake. My elder daughter doesn’t like overly sweet desserts and aronia syrup just has a sharpness that takes it to a whole new level.